- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Curing a Cold: What Works and What Doesn't
Find out what's effective and what's not when it comes to curing the common cold.
Strictly speaking there has never been a direct cure for the common cold but there has always been remedies in relieving those miserable symptoms.
Everyone has had the common cold in their lives it has affected us all at some point - If you catch the bug you can expect to be sick for around one or two weeks, these remedies may help...
So, what works?
- Saline Nasal Drops and Sprays
- Cold and Cough Medications
- Salt Gargle
Now let me explain how these can actually help you...
You can't actually flush a cold out of your system unfortunately but by having a consistent intake of fluids you can relieve congestion and avoid dehydration.
Avoid all fizzy drinks, coffees and alcohol as these can dehydrate you even more.
For decades researchers potentially believied that zinc could cure the common cold but there has finally been some light shed over this topic.
A constructive analysis report has proven Zinc really does have some potential of being beneficial, likewise, some researchers still do not support these claims. But how can we use zinc?
- Zinc Lozenges
- Zinc Nasal Sprays
Saline Nasal Drops and Sprays
Nasal drops and sprays are available over-the-counter; they are designed primarily to combat congestion and stuffiness. A mist of saline solution is delivered to help moisturise dry or irritated nostrils.
Additionally saline nasal drops and sprays can also relieve nasal congestion and remove airborne irritants therefore providing extra relief.
Cold and Cough Medications
There are many cold and cough medicatons available for purchase over-the-counter and they have proved to be beneficial in more ways than one. Through the use of non-prescription decongestants and pain relievers you will certainly have some degree of relief from your symptoms.
* Experts agree that using such over-the-counter medications on young children can cause significant harm, also, they have stressed to never take more than the reccommended dose - it can do some nasty damage so take added care.
What are antihistamines? Histamine is a protein that the immune system uses to help protect the body’s cells against infection.
Sedating antihistamines may provide minor relief of several cold symptoms including sneezing, cough and nasal congestion.
The common cold thrives in dry conditions! (This is another reason why colds are more common in the winter.)
Also, dry air can cause a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat and this happens because the air will dry your muscous membranes. A humidifier can be used to add moisture to your home which will help relieve cold symptoms - however the added moisture can attract fungi, mold and bacteria to your home so use it periodically.
A simple salt gargle can alleviate pain and reduce the swelling caused due to a sore throat. Here's a little method to follow:
- Heat a glass of water (8-ounzes) until the water is just lukewarm.
- Add a requisite amount of salt (typically half a teaspoon)
- Stir the water until the salt has thoroughly dissolved.
- Now gargle with a mouthful of this salt water then spit it out after 10 seconds. Repeat this several number of times to experience any benefits.
What Doesn't Work?
Unfortunately there is a never ending list of what cold remedies are ineffective - but I will focus on more on the common ones, here are some examples:
- Chicken Soup
Generation after generation parents have believed chicken soup will cure the common cold. Although chicken soup has never actually proved to cure the common cold it does in fact have some mild anti-inflammatory effects.
What is Echinacea? Echinacea is a flowering plant of the daisy family which is in an ongoing debate about whether or not it can really support our immune system in curing our colds.
In the meantime, if your immune system is healthy and you are not taking prescription medications, using echinacea supplements is unlikely to cause harm.
There has always been a mis-understanding when it comes to antibiotics - they destroy bacteria, and that's it. Unfortunately though, the common cold is a virus thus rendering antibiotics useless!
Never buy antibiotics for a common cold they just wont do anything. But what's worse is if you use antibiotics when you don't really need them because you can contribute to a build up of resistance to the stuff; which consequently makes them less effective when you may actually need them...
Stop the spreading!
Through simple hygienic procedures such as washing your hands regularly and not touching your face and mouth etc - you can prevent the spread of the common cold. Additionally, our immune systems are the frontier of protection against such illnesses - find out here how to improve it.